Marriott database breach: Up to 500 million users’ information compromised

Yes friends, yet another huge company has announced a breach that affects millions of customers. This time it’s Marriott, who has announced that their Starwood database was victim to a breach that started in 2014. Up to 500 million guests’ information may have been accessed as part of this breach.

This information includes some combination of email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, birthdate, passport number, arrival and departure dates, communication preferences, and possibly credit card information.

What should you do?

If, like the vast majority of business travelers, you have stayed at a Starwood property and it’s possible your information may be part of the breach, here are a few steps to take:

  • Update your Marriott Rewards password. Also update any passwords for websites that are the same as that password. (You’re not supposed to use the same password on different sites but of course everyone does.)
  • Stay vigilant with your credit cards. If you’re not regularly looking at your statements to ensure accuracy start doing that now.
  • Don’t fall for email phishing scams. Hackers can use information from the breach to send targeted phishing emails to people–don’t fall for it! If a deal seems to good to be true or came out of nowhere don’t click. (Not sure what phishing is? Check out Wikipedia’s explanation.)
  • Don’t panic–while it’s annoying, these breaches are actually fairly common. These are good steps to take anytime! (For more suggestions see PC World’s post about what to do after a data breach.)

And actually, now that I think about it–these are good steps to take anytime!

Marriott has begun sending emails to those affected by the breach, and they’ve set up a dedicated call center for those who have been affected. For more information, you can check out the website they’ve set up specifically to deal with the breach.

Stay safe out there readers!

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